Ava Gardner

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Ava Gardner (1953)

Ava Lavinia Gardner (born December 24, 1922 in Grabtown near Smithfield , North Carolina , † January 25, 1990 in London , England ) was an American film actress who had her greatest success in the 1940s and 1950s and was considered a sex symbol . In a 1999 AFI poll, she was ranked 25th among the greatest female movie stars .


Through private photos of her brother-in-law, who worked as a photographer, Ava Gardner got her first film contracts and played minor supporting roles for several years before she became a glamor star due to her beauty and erotic charisma. She made her breakthrough in 1946 as the seductive femme fatale alongside Burt Lancaster in Robert Siodmak's film noir classic Avengers of the Underworld . She became internationally known through the Hemingway filming Snow on Kilimanjaro (1952) with Gregory Peck and through Mogambo (1953) alongside Clark Gable . For her role in Mogambo , she received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in 1954 . In the same year Gardner played alongside Humphrey Bogart in one of her most famous roles, the tragic title heroine in The Barefoot Countess .

Gardner's career flourished during his marriage to Frank Sinatra , his career suffering from public condemnation of his divorce from his previous wife. Gardner took advantage of her notoriety and gave Sinatra a role in 1953 For All Eternity , for which he received an Oscar .

In 1968 she could be seen in Mayerling as Elisabeth von Austria-Hungary alongside Catherine Deneuve and Omar Sharif .

In the 1970s she was still seen in major cinema productions, for example in the disaster film Earthquake alongside her husband, Charlton Heston .

In the 1980s, Gardner stepped among other things as a guest star on the television series Knots Landing on. Her last film, Harem , was also made for television in 1986. In a supporting role, she met Omar Sharif again, with whom she had shot Mayerling in 1968 .

When asked about her acting skills, she once said:

“I've never really been an actress. There was no one among us kids from MGM. We just looked good. "

Six years after her death in 1990, the Ava Gardner Museum opened in downtown Smithfield , North Carolina , which exhibits an extensive collection of artifacts from Gardner's career and personal life.

Private life

Ava Gardner statue in Tossa de Mar

Ava Gardner was born in Grabtown, a small settlement near Smithfield, North Carolina , in 1922 , the seventh and last child of farmer Jonas Gardner and his wife Molly. Her parents grew tobacco and cotton.

In Ava Gardner's early childhood, the family's cotton barn burned down and her parents gave up farming. From then on, the Gardners ran a boarding house for teachers, and later moved to Newport News, Virginia . After her father's death in 1938, Ava Gardner moved with her mother to Wilson, North Carolina , where she spent her teenage years. After graduating from high school , she trained as a secretary .

Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles , Gardner met actor Mickey Rooney , who was under contract with MGM . They were married on January 10, 1942. She was 19 years old at the time, he was 21. The marriage ended in divorce the following year.

In 1945 Gardner married the jazz musician and band leader Artie Shaw . The marriage lasted only one year until 1946. Gardner was also frequently seen in public with businessman and pilot Howard Hughes in the 1940s, leading to speculation about a relationship between the two. She wrote about this in her autobiography that Hughes had often invited her and made her generous gifts, but that she had refused a more serious and sexual relationship with him.

Her third and last marriage was in 1951 with the singer and actor Frank Sinatra . She later wrote in her autobiography that he was the love of her life. Sinatra has been convicted by the press, Hollywood and the Church for leaving his wife Nancy over Gardner. His career began to suffer, but Gardners flourished. During this marriage, Gardner became pregnant twice, but had abortions on both occasions for career reasons. Gardner settled in Madrid, Spain in 1953. There she met Ernest Hemingway , with whom she became a deep friend from now on. Influenced by him, she began to be interested in bullfighting . That's how she met her long-time lover Luis Miguel Dominguín . In 1957 she divorced Sinatra.

In 1968 Gardner moved to London . There she died in 1990 after several strokes from the consequences of pneumonia. She found her final resting place at Sunset Memorial Park in Smithfield , North Carolina.

Filmography (selection)

German dubbing voices

The German actresses who have dubbed Ava Gardner in their films include:


  • Peter Evans with Ava Gardner: Ava Gardner - The Secret Conversations . Simon & Schuster, New York City, USA 2013, ISBN 978-1-4516-2769-5 .

Web links

Commons : Ava Gardner  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. https://www.br.de/radio/bayern2/sendung/kalenderblatt/2412-ava-gardner-geboren-100.html
  2. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091174/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv
  3. Died: Ava Gardner . In: Der Spiegel . No. 5 , 1990, pp. 204 ( Online - Jan. 29, 1990 ).
  4. synchrondatenbank.de